No arrest made in Davis killing

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Tuesday March 21, 2023
Share this Post:
Devonte "Tay" Davis was shot and killed in Oakland March 12. Photo: Courtesy Oakland LGBTQ Community Center
Devonte "Tay" Davis was shot and killed in Oakland March 12. Photo: Courtesy Oakland LGBTQ Community Center

Oakland police continue to investigate the shooting death of gay Black man Devonte Davis and no arrest has been made, a department spokesperson said.

Davis, 27, also known as "Tay," was identified March 16 as the victim of a homicide near the Oakland Coliseum that occurred March 12.

"Unfortunately, there has been no arrest made in this case," Oakland Police Department Officer Rosalia Lopez stated to the Bay Area Reporter March 20.

Davis' killing came less than a week after police made an arrest in the stabbing death of another gay Black man, Curtis Marsh, a former member of the Oakland Gay Men's Chorus. (See related story.)

The two cases do not appear to be related, and there is no evidence that either was a hate crime, police said.

Regarding the Davis case, OPD Public Information Officer Kim Armstead previously stated to the B.A.R. that the department is investigating "a shooting that occurred on March 12, 2023, just after 9 a.m., in the 8100 block of Baldwin Street. Upon officers' arrival, they located a victim who had sustained multiple gunshot wounds."

Emergency responders showed up to assist the victim, Armstead stated.

"The victim was then transported to an area hospital where they succumbed to their injuries and was pronounced deceased at the hospital," Armstead continued. "A homicide callout was initiated, and the investigators responded to begin the follow-up investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death."

KTVU-TV reported that Davis was killed near a homeless encampment. Friends told the TV station that Davis went out of his way to help others.

Oakland police told the B.A.R., "At this time, there is no evidence of a hate crime, however, investigators are looking into all possible leads."

Darrell Jackson, center, the partner of Devonte "Tay" Davis, was comforted by Alexanderia Gee, far left, and Davis' sister, Geneva Davis, right, during a March 18 memorial at the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland  

A memorial was held for Davis March 18 at the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center. There, Davis' partner, Darrell Jackson, was comforted by friends and family members.

YB, a Black lesbian from Oakland who knew Davis, told the B.A.R. March 17, "Our gay Black men are being exterminated like animals."

"I loved him," said YB, who goes by that name. "I think it was unfair and nobody should ever have to leave that way. We know we are all going to leave, one day, but to be taken out. It makes no sense. He was only 27 years old. I want there to be justice."

YB said she'd known Davis for "over 15 years."

"I knew him through his sister," YB said. "He was wonderful. He was kind, funny and fun — he was a Leo like myself and he brought a light everywhere he went. The light brightened up any room he went into — changed it completely and made it so positive."

Joe Hawkins, a gay Black man who is a co-founder and CEO of the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, told the B.A.R. that Davis' death is part of a larger problem.

"The actual number of Black gay men who are victims of homicide is severely underreported due to homophobia and stigma in Black communities," Hawkins stated March 16. "Many families will not disclose the sexual orientation of their family member who was murdered. This is also true of Black transgender individuals. It is critical that advocates, friends, and allies provide a holistic description of queer victims of homicide in order for authorities to determine if a hate crime has been committed."

Hawkins added that the center will be there to advocate for communities of color.

"Few victim services exist in Alameda County for the kind of crimes queer people and men of color, particularly men, are most likely to experience, such as threats of violence, acts of violence, robbery, or that take into account their specific cultural, sexual orientation, or gender identity experiences," Hawkins stated.

He noted that the center, which opened in 2017, was established to help the community.

"Our LGBTQ center here in Oakland is founded by Black queer men and led mostly by LGBTQ people of color," he stated. "We are uniquely connected to communities of color and the issues we face. This connection allows us to be aware of and shine a spotlight on crime and how queer communities of color are impacted."

After the initial publication of an earlier version of this story online, a spokesperson for Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao told the B.A.R., "Our office is in contact with the Oakland Police Department for updates on this case, which is currently under investigation. This is a tragic loss of life and our hearts go out to Devonte's family, friends and the entire LGBTQ+ community. Mayor Thao and our Oakland Police Department are committed to working each day to make sure all our communities are safe in our city."

The office declined to comment on the Marsh case last week. City Councilmember Kevin Jenkins, who represents the district where Davis was killed, has not responded to a request for comment.

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.